Over the past few years, Korean automaker Kia has been on a mission to change public perception of its brand. No longer is it the quirky Korean brand that’s attached to the hip with Hyundai. Granted, it is still attached to Hyundai and you can trace nearly every Kia model back to Hyundai roots; it simply has a little more design freedom these days.
Now, it’s ready to take on the big boys. To its credit, it’s doing so with a full armada of new vehicle offerings that’ll cater to a wide range of consumer palettes.
One such model that Kia has high hopes for is the 2013 Rio Sedan. First introduced in 2000, the Rio has since spawned three generations, a remarkable achievement in itself considering that despite being a relative neophyte in its segment, it has managed to hold its own against the Corollas and Civics of the world.
Make no mistakes, though; the Rio still has its work cut out for it, given the tradition and popularity of its Japanese competitors.
Yet that has been a challenge that Kia has fully embraced, if only for the rather simple reason that if you’re going to make a name for yourself in the industry, you’re going to need to target the heavyweights and give them some reason to look in their rear-view mirrors.
The Rio definitely has the tools to take the battle to its rivals. The question is does it have the tools to attract the most important group of people: buyers.
Click past the jump to read about the 2013 Kia Rio Sedan Full story
It’s not exactly the Justice League swooping down to the 2012 SEMA Auto Show to save us from tyrannical custom vehicles, but these DC superhero-inspired Kia models are pretty cool in their own right.
As a joint collaboration between Kia, DC Entertainment, and West Coast Customs, the Kia Rio 5-Door was one of the models treated to a superhero make-over to promote DC’s "We Can Be Heroes" campaign. To no one’s surprise, the eco-friendly Rio became the ultimate alter-ego of DC’s resident environment guardian, Aquaman.
The Aquaman-inspired Rio 5-door received the hero’s famous gold, green, and orange exterior colors to go with a body kit that incredibly includes custom-fabricated fins. Body lighting across the exterior are also part of the program, as are Oracle LED wheel rings and a new set of 20" color-matched Asanti wheels wrapped in Continental tires.
Inside, the Aquaman theme continues with the reupholstered seats dressed in green leather with yellow and gold accents. Green suede was also used on the headliner while the back seats bear Aquaman’s logo stitched into it. Open up the trunk of the Rio and watch as it pops up like an underwater treasure chest where you’ll find Aquaman comic-book art with a polycast cutout and surrounded with Oracle LED lighting. Last, but certainly not least, a pair of 7" Rosen Entertainment monitors have also been installed, as well as a 12" subwoofer with two coaxial component speakers and amps.
Kia geared up for the 2011 SEMA Auto Show with an armada of presentations starting with this fascinating surf and skate-themed Rio hatchback. The car was built in cooperation with Antenna Magazine and was designed to be a “one-of-a-kind retro ride aimed at totally radical surfing enthusiasts.”
The exterior of the Rio 5-door was treated to a sunset-metallic golden-brown paint and a custom body kit that includes a front splitter made of wood that matches the Thule roof rack and hand-made wood surfboard mounted on top. The car has also been lowered with a modified suspension for better handling while a new set of 17" three-piece gold wheels finish off the exterior details.
Inside, the Antenna Rio 5-door comes with custom front and rear seats and dash and door panels that are dressed in brown and beige plaid waterproof bathing suit fabric. There’s also a wood grain center console and a headliner upholstered in dark brown suede with a towel holder built in that rounds out the car’s themed retro-surf look. Meanwhile, the rear center console was turned into a shelf that can hold beach accessories, including sun tan lotion, surfboard wax, and bottled water. Then, there’s the rear hatch, which has been modified to hold a retro gaming console that plays 80’s-style arcade games, a retro-looking record player to play music, mood lighting, and shelves to hold sandals and clothing.
Needless to say, this particular Rio is more about its looks than it is about its performance capabilities. Don’t expect it to burn some rubber on the road, but when it comes to the perfect chill-out ride, Antenna Magazine’s Kia Rio "Retro Surf" is a retro hot spot on wheels.
Updated 11/09/2011: Check the picture gallery to see new images of the Rio 5-Door "Retro Surf" by Antenna Magazine from its official debut at the SEMA Show.
The run up to one of our favorite auto shows has begun and we’re already getting a few looks at some of the cars that are expected to be in attendance.
One of the early reveals is the Kia Rio B-Spec Race Car, the Korean automaker’s very first B-Spec offering. The car was developed by Kinetic Motorsports and will be unveiled at SEMA in a month’s time.
For their part, Kia may not have the same cache as the likes of Toyota and Honda in B-Spec racing, but that certainly doesn’t mean that they’re not looking at breaking into the scene like gangbusters.
The car itself already comes packed with plenty of technical and mechanical modifications, complete with a fully decked red-and-white racing livery, a new suspension set-up comprising of a MacPherson strut front suspension and torsion beam rear axle, a roll cage, and plenty of additional racing safety equipment.
As for the powertrain, the car is expected to carry the same engine set-up as its stock counterpart. What that means is that the Rio B-Spec Race Car will carry a 1.6-liter direct-injection four-cylinder engine that produces 138 HP and 123 lb-ft of torque. Kinetic Motorsports will also leave open the option of tweaking the output to squeeze in as much extra horsepower as it could within the rules.
"With the rapid development of the Kia Racing program and the launch of the 2012 Rio five-door, we have a unique opportunity to introduce Kia to a new and passionate racing community," said Michael Sprague Kia Vice President of Marketing and Communications.
UPDATE 11/02/11: This review has been updated with official photos from Kia
UPDATE 11/09/11: We have added new images of the Kia Rio B-Spec Race Car from its debut at the SEMA Show.
Kia has expanded its Rio line-up with the revealing of a new sedan version at the 2011 New York Auto Show. The new model will go on sale later this fall and will be offered in three trims – LX, EX and SX - all with a 1.6-liter GDI four-cylinder engine.
The 2012 Kia Sedan follows along the same design language as the 2011 Optima and Sportage. The major work will be done inside the vehicle where it will receive a bold and modern cabin, high quality materials, and the latest technologies available on the market.
"The all-new Rio brings Kia’s successful combination of world-class styling, outstanding fuel economy, advanced technologies and tremendous value to the smallest and most economical vehicle in the Kia lineup," said Michael Sprague, vice president, marketing & communications, KMA. "With gas prices rising, sub-compacts are becoming increasingly more popular and with more power, up to 40 miles per gallon fuel economy and stunning design, the all-new Rio sets the standard in the sub-compact class and becomes a vehicle that is not only affordable, but one that people will aspire to own."
Hit the jump to read more about the 2012 Kia Rio Sedan. Full story
The fourth generation Kia Rio made its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show and will be put on sale in five-doors version from September with the all-new 3-door model on sale from early 2012. Both versions will be manufactured exclusively at Kia’s Sohari plant in Korea.
Compared to the previous generation the new Rio model is longer by 20 mm, wider by 25 mm, and lower by -15 mm and features a wheelbase extended by 70 mm to 2,570 mm – greatly enhancing passenger space and cargo capacity.
The new Rio will be offered with a choice of four highly efficient three- and four-cylinder engines with power ranging from 70-to-109 HP. When powered by the 109 HP version, the new Rio will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 11.5 seconds and will hit a top speed of 112 mph.
UPDATE 09/26/2011: Kia has announced that the all new Rio will go on sale with prices starting from under $14,000. On the US market, prices for the all new Rio will start from $13,600 for the 5-door manual version, $14,700 for the 5-door A/T and will go up to $18,000 for the top of the line SX.
Hit the jump to read more the 2012 Kia Rio. Full story
It seems like Kia is really into unveiling special editions these days. The second one unveiled today is a new Domino special edition, available for both the Picanto and the Rio.
The new Domino edition is available, you guessed it, in white or optional black metallic. Depending on the color you chose for the exterior, the body-colored bumpers, mirrors, and door handles can be offset with an optional contrasting black or white domino effect stripe.
Next to this the new edition gets 14-inch alloy wheels (Rio) and 14-inch wheel trims (Picanto), air-conditioning, iPod connectivity, remote central locking, and a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear-knob. The Rio Domino also gets rear electric windows added to the list of standard equipment.
The new edition is available with either a 1.4-liter petrol or 1.5-liter CRDi diesel engine and is priced at £7,995 for Picanto and from £9,295 for the Rio version.
Press release after the jump. Full story
Kia is about to become an interesting company. The Soul is a refreshing design from the Korean firm, and the upcoming Forte is a clean design that has been receiving good reviews. So it puzzles us why with so much new good stuff on the horizon, Kia would choose the ho-hum Rio5 to represent the company at SEMA.
The car starts with a Kia-genuine body kit and adds a revised front mesh grille, blackened headlamps, custom wheels, revised strut brace and cold air intake system, a cat-back exhaust, and stainless steel door sill plates. The lowered frame sits wrapped around larger wheels and tires by TSW and Goodyear. So the execution is good (and even the paint job looks nice), but the fact remains under all this is a Rio5.
Much of this kit is available through Kia dealers (some of it is being tested for future availability.) So if you’re somehow stuck with a Rio5, at least it doesn’t have to be a completely dull one.
The Koreans believe in the hybrid-technology. The proof of this is provided by Kia, who will launch at Geneva a prototype of a hybrid Rio. The car gets a 1,4-liter engine under the hood, that will be offered in combination with an electric motor with 66 lbs-ft.
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